Common Nigerian Leafy Vegetables and Their Benefits

One thing that identifies fully a typical Nigerian food market is nothing else than the beautifying colors of leafy vegetables lying on the market tables or baskets. These veggies are

Nigerian leafy vegetables play a vital role when it comes to the preparation of Nigerian soups. These veggies make foods look more attractive asides from its delicious taste it brings to the table. For this reason, it’s very important to know the health benefits associated with these common Nigerian Veggies.

Here, I would be listing the most popular veggies and their health benefits. Here’s how they are beneficial to your body:

Scent leaf:

Scent leaf is a wonderful vegetable which is known for its peculiar colour and it’s greatly appreciated for its nutritional and medicinal benefits. It is cultivated in Nigeria and known as Nnchanwu by the Igbos, Efinrin by the Yorubas and Daidoya by the Hausas. Scent leaf is normally used for the preparation of stews and soups.

Health benefits:

  • Due to its aromatic nature, can be used to spice up various kinds of soup (pepper soup inclusive) and other delicious meals like yam porridge.
  • The juice gotten from squeezing its leaf can be used to cure several stomach related illnesses like cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, vomiting and convulsion.
  • Scent leaves can also be used in the prevention and treatment of malaria, cough, catarrh and fever.

Fluted Pumpkin Leaves:


Locally known as ugwu, fluted pumpkin leaves, is arguably the most popular leafy veggie in Nigeria. Not just soups or stews, ugwu leaves are also used in the preparation many Nigerian dishes, and can also be eaten on its own.

Health benefits include:

  • Ugwu leaves are rich in protein which means they good for growth.
  • They are also excellent sources of dietary fiber, vitamin A an K. Incorporating this vegetable into your diet helps in providing your skin with the perfect glow.
  • They contain a lot of iron, which helps in red blood cell production. Recommended for anaemic patients.
  • Incorporating ugwu leaves into your diet also aids in preventing premature ageing.


Despite being underrated and undervalued, waterleaf still falls into one of the most common veggies in the Nigerian food market.

Health Benefits:

  • Regular consumption of the waterleaf plant has the ability to prevent you from having a stroke and other heart-related problems.
  • The waterleaf plant is a perfect remedy for weight loss.
  • Consumption of water leaf helps diabetics as it regulates blood sugar levels in the body
  • Waterleaf can be used to treat constipation, indigestion and other stomach related problems.


Bitterleaf as the name implies, is one common vegetable which is recognized for its bitter taste. It is known as Ewuro by the Yorubas, Onugbu by the Igbos and called shiwaka by the Hausas. Underneath that bitterness, are several useful and numerous health benefits needed by your body. It is one of those veggies found in the Nigerian food market that all of its part is being valued.

Health Benefits:

  • It aids in reducing high sugar level in the blood and it is a great aid for diabetic patients.
  • Bitterleaf is also a powerful antioxidant, and contains numerous phytochemicals used in cancer prevention.
  • Bitter leaf could also serve as a detoxifier as it detoxifies the blood, prevents indigestion, scurvy and nourishes the skin.
  • The juices extracted from bitterleaf can be used in treatment of nausea, dysentery and other digestive or appetite problems.

African Spinach:

Another common vegetable that can be easily found in the Nigeria food market is the African spinach, locally known as Soko. It is a perennial herb that used as a common ingredient in preparing many delicacies. This Nigerian Leafy Vegetable is called a functional food due to its numerous nutritional, antioxidants properties.

Health Benefits:

  • It is very low in fat and contains a lot of dietary fiber
  • Due to the high level of calcium present in Soko, consuming this veggie regularly can reduce your risk of high blood pressure.
  • It also improves bone health.
  • As a result of the presence of zinc in African spinach, it aids in protecting against viral infections, esp those that cause common colds.
Note that for all these veggies, it is important not to overcook as this destroys most of the heat sensitive nutrients present.
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